Erika Wasser is a rising NY comedian and humorist with an affinity for fashion. She shares her unique bravado about the modern woman’s everyday world in her stand up, in a weekly column InTouch Magazine, and on The Tyra Banks Show.
If you could banish one fashion style, what would it be?
Plaid shirts and being dirty as looking cool. Why people wear those lumberjack shirts, made for those who are cutting trees, when all they’re doing is smoking trees is beyond me. If unemployment had a uniform, all of the lower east side would be it. I don’t get it. Dress for the job you want – not the one you don’t have. Also, when did it become OK not to shower, yet the ‘cheek kiss hello’ is still in. When people in plaid and unwashed hair go in to say hello, I say “wait right there and don’t take another step unless you want a hello and my dermatology bill” – it’s just plain gross. And then these same over confident ‘I don’t need to be clean to be cool’ people are the same ones who want to hit on you?!! If you go out looking like you’ve rolled out of bed, be prepared to roll back into bed… alone. Second on the list: Flip Flops… unsanitary, unsightly… need I continue?
What’s the most embarrassing ensemble you look back on ever having worn?
I was responsible for bringing Ugg boots to my high school, which was a boarding school in Upstate New York. Way before the Uggs took off, I also paired these sad excuses for shoes with a barely there denim mini skirt, and an array of “emo-esque” pink skull t-shirts that were too tight. I looked like a hooker who wanted to be lazy about it. My t-shirts suggested I was depressed, my lack of ability to put real shoes on confirmed it. The yearbook actually touted my ‘fashion sense’ and featured me, and my signature look. I realize now that they were mocking me but at the time I really thought I looked sexy-cool. Looking back, I think my friend and fellow comic Veronica Mosey says it best, “There’s a reason strippers aren’t wearing ugg boots”. Also, they were made for surfers. New rule of thumb: When the last thing you surfed was the internet, either go get yourself a long board, or go buy a decent pair of shoes.
Why is it so hard to find a man who dresses well?
Correction: Why is it so hard to find a man who dresses well that want’s to date you [a female]. I can find you a slew of well dressed men – however, they are all hanging out with each other… in Chelsea. Straight men sort of fear the fashion space out of what it will lead ignorant minds to assume. Men, if you are reading this – I’d rather go through a momentary ‘he could be gay’ then think you’ve gotten yourself into a fight with a goodwill bin, and lost.
Do you feel pressure to constantly dress well now that you write a fashion column?
Sometimes I look at myself in the full length mirror before leaving the house and think to myself, “Really? You wearing black spandex head to toe because you were too lazy to wear anything with button closures – you really had the balls to judge Gwenyth Paltrow at the Oscars?” Sometimes I go back and change, sometimes I decide when the paparazzi decide to show up, so will my increased sense of caring. As of right now, it’s still very safe for me to wear spandex outside. Once I was crossing the street and someone who recognized me from a show the night before introduced themselves and thanked me, most of the time though people introduce themselves to me when they’re either looking for directions or because the fly of my jeans is unknowingly down. The pressure is off, but I’m definitely more conscious.
What is the deepest, darkest, secret you know about Tyra Banks?
She lived in Paris, alone, at 16… really. Also that she has a really big fear of animals. Anytime we did a show with animals, it was a mess. We did a show with Dave Salmoni of Animal Planet [Dave, if you are reading this - you are gorgeous, well dressed, straight, lion taming.. and I'm single with an out of control Maltese you could train]. Anyway, with gorgeous Dave comes panthers, and giant snakes, and some other weird animals only a man as gorgeous as he could get away with bringing to the stage and one of the jungle cats took a swipe at Tyra – I can officially say I’ve seen a black woman turn white.
Are there any clubs or shows you NEVER want to do?
I don’t have a black list so to speak, but there are things I wouldn’t go back to. A few months into comedy, I got my first paid road gig. I get there and it’s a support group meeting for a group called “Kars and Kids” – a group for people who have run over their own kids, with their own cars. So its all these parents, and their leftovers, 3-13, and because the kids are so young, I assume I should play to the parents. Looking at this sea of kids, the first thing out of my mouth was “this night makes me really thankful that Plan B is now over the counter”. Death Stares & Silence. I still had 14 minutes and 55 seconds left of the 15 minutes alloted for my act. At the end of the 15 minutes, I had to sneak out through to kitchen.
You joke about NY not really being the glamorous life for you, at least presently. If you could be anywhere at this very moment, where would that be?
I’d be on a yacht, with someone I loved, drinking chardonnay off the coast of Monaco – and I’d be about 10 pounds thinner. Adele would be playing in the background, my dog would be behaved, and did I mention the skinny part? In reality, as unglamourous as New York, 3 roommates, the subway, and performing to drunks in the backs of bars may be – I’d probably be doing exactly what I am doing right now, but keep the 10 pounds off and be wearing really great Louboutin heels.
Upcoming show: Unknown Comedy Hour’s 6th Month Anniversary June 11th, The Duplex, 7pm, $5 cover, 2 drink minimum.